In an audio message released on 1 July 2014, two days after the Islamic State announced the restoration of the caliphate, the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, laid out the Islamic State’s vision. The Islamic State put out an English version of the speech, which is reproduced below with some minor editions and some interesting sections highlighted in bold.
In the speech, entitled, “A Message to the Mujahideen and the Muslim Umma in the Month of Ramadan,” al-Baghdadi presents the Islamic State as a vanguard for all Muslims, their redeemer who will avenge the persecutions and humiliations imposed since the fall of the caliphate, from the massacres in Bosnia to the French outlawing the hijab. Al-Baghdadi presents a Manichean picture in which there is only the camp of good (the Islamic State) and evil (everyone else, led by the Jews), and a failure to actively declare for the Islamic State leaves one in the camp of evil. As ever, the most significant evil that the Islamic State detects is internal to Islamdom: it is the secularists, nationalists, and democrats among Muslims who, while no doubt agents of the crusader West, are the real enemies, whose elimination reduces the threat from the West. Al-Baghdadi makes a point of the diversity of the caliphate’s “citizens,” who are of all races and nationalities—distinctions the Islamic State does not recognize; there are only believers and unbelievers. This means that the Islamic State rejects the idea that the citizens of Muslim-majority states have any more claim to their countries than the foreigners—putting the Islamic State distinctly at odds with, say, the Syrian rebellion that fights for a post-Assad government, and is not keen on the imposition of an alien form of their faith by foreign colonists. Al-Baghdadi says it is an obligation for all Muslims to journey to the caliphate, and makes a specific call on educated specialists—religious judges, administrators, engineers, doctors, military officials, and so on—to come to assist with the state-building effort. Finally, and perhaps most interestingly given the Islamic State’s reputation for zealous exclusionism—and its own with-us-or-against-us rhetoric—al-Baghdadi encourages that the Sunni tribes and others be dealt with as gently as possible in order to facilitate their entry into the Islamic State.
Truly all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, and seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our souls and from the consequences of our deeds. Whomever Allah guides can never be led astray, and whomever Allah leads astray can never be guided.
I testify that there is no god except Allah—alone without any partners—and I testify that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims” [Al-Imran: 102].
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer” [An-Nisa: 1].
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His messenger has certainly achieved a great triumph” [Al-Ahzab: 70-71]. As for what follows: Allah (the Exalted) said, “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” [Al-Baqarah: 183].
“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it” [Al-Baqarah: 185].
We congratulate the umma [community] of Islam, in the East and in the West, on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, and we praise Allah (the Exalted) for allowing us to reach this virtuous month.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan, having faith and anticipating a reward, will have his past sins forgiven.” He also said, “Whoever stands in prayer in the month of Ramadan, having faith and anticipating a reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”
So congratulations to you, O slaves of Allah, as Allah has allowed you to reach this noble month. Praise Allah and thank Him for having granted you long lives, thereby giving you a chance to correct your past deeds. Meet the month of Ramadan with sincere repentance and truthful resolve.
“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him” [At-Tahrim: 8].
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous” [Al-‘Imran: 133].
And there is no deed in this virtuous month or in any other month better than jihad in the path of Allah, so take advantage of this opportunity and walk the path of you righteous predecessors. Support the religion of Allah through jihad in the path of Allah. Go forth, O mujahideen in the path of Allah. Terrify the enemies of Allah and seek death in the places where you expect to find it, for the dunya (worldly life) will come to an end, and the hereafter will last forever.
“So do not weaken and call for peace while you are superior; and Allah is with you and will never deprive you of [the reward of] your deeds. This worldly life is only amusement and diversion” [Muhammad: 35-36].
“And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter—that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew” [Al-Ankabut: 64].
“But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope” [Al-Kahf: 46].
And blessed is the one who parts with his dunya [temporal life] in Ramadan and meets his Lord on a day from amongst the days of forgiveness.
O mujahideen in the path of Allah, be monks during the night and be knights during the day. Bring joy to the hearts of a believing people, and show the tawaghit what they are wary of.
O mujahideen in the path of Allah, truly the matter is that of Allah’s religion and His commodity. You only have one soul, and an appointed time of death that will neither be hastened nor delayed. It is a matter of Jannah [Paradise] and Hellfire, happiness and misery. As for the religion of Allah, then it will be victorious. Allah has promised to bring victory to the religion. And as for Allah’s commodity, then it is precious and valuable. Indeed, His commodity is costly. Indeed, His commodity is Paradise. As for the soul, then what a lowly, miserable, wretched soul it is if it does not seek what is with Allah and does not support the religion of Allah.
By Allah, we will never be mujahideen as long as we are stingy with our lives and our wealth. By Allah, we will never be truthful as long as we do not sacrifice our lives and wealth in order to raise high the word of Allah and bring victory to the religion of Allah. “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great triumph” [At-Tawbah: 111].
So take up arms, take up arms, O soldiers of the Islamic State! And fight, fight!
Beware of becoming deluded and losing strength. Beware, for the dunya has come to you reluctantly, so kick it down, trample it, and leave it behind you. Indeed, what is with Allah is better and more lasting.
Indeed, the umma of Islam is watching your jihad with eyes of hope, and indeed you have brothers in many parts of the world being inflicted with the worst kinds of torture. Their honour is being violated. Their blood is being spilled. Prisoners are moaning and crying for help. Orphans and widows are complaining of their plight. Women who have lost their children are weeping. Mosques are desecrated and sanctities are violated. Muslims’ rights are forcibly seized in China, India, Palestine, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, Sham (the Levant), Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Ahvaz, Iran, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco, in the East and in the West.
So, raise your ambitions, O soldiers of the Islamic State! For your brothers, all over the world, are awaiting your rescue and anticipating your brigades. It is enough for you to just look at the scenes that have reached you from Central Africa, and from Burma before that. What is hidden from us is far worse.
By Allah, we will take revenge! By Allah, we will take revenge! Even if it takes a while, we will take revenge, and every amount of harm against the umma will be responded to with multitudes more against the perpetrator.
“And those who, when tyranny strikes them, they defend themselves” [Ash-Shura: 39].
And the one who commences is the more oppressive.
Soon, by Allah’s permission, a day will come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master, having honour, being revered, with his head raised high and his dignity preserved. Anyone who dares to offend him will be disciplined, and any hand that reaches out to harm him will be cut off.
Let the world know that we are living today in a new era. Whoever was heedless must now be alert. Whoever was sleeping must now awaken. Whoever was shocked and amazed must comprehend. The Muslims today have a loud, thundering statement, and possess heavy boots. They have a statement that will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism, and boots that will trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy and uncover its deviant nature.
So listen, O umma of Islam. Listen and comprehend. Stand up and rise. For the time has come for you to free yourself from the shackles of weakness, and stand in the face of tyranny, against the treacherous rulers—the agents of the crusaders and the atheists, and the guards of the Jews.
O umma of Islam, indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr [disbelief] and hypocrisy—the camp of the Muslims and the mujahideen everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the Jews.
Indeed the Muslims were defeated after the fall of their caliphate. Then their state ceased to exist, so the disbelievers were able to weaken and humiliate the Muslims, dominate them in every region, plunder their wealth and resources, and rob them of their rights. They accomplished this by attacking and occupying their lands, placing their treacherous agents in power to rule the Muslims with an iron fist, and spreading dazzling and deceptive slogans such as: civilization, peace, co-existence, freedom, democracy, secularism, Ba’athism, nationalism, and patriotism, among other false slogans.
Those rulers continue striving to enslave the Muslims, pulling them away from their religion with those slogans. So either the Muslim pulls away from his religion, disbelieves in Allah, and disgracefully submits to the shirk [polytheism or idolatry] of man-made laws of the East and West, living despicably and disgracefully as a follower, by repeating those slogans without will and honour, or he lives persecuted, targeted, and expelled, to end up being killed, imprisoned, or terribly tortured, on the accusation of terrorism. Because terrorism is to disbelieve in those slogans and to believe in Allah. Terrorism is to refer to Allah’s law for judgment. Terrorism is to worship Allah as He ordered you. Terrorism is to refuse humiliation, subjugation, and subordination [to unbelievers]. Terrorism is for the Muslim to live as a Muslim, honourably with might and freedom. Terrorism is to insist upon your rights and not give them up.
But terrorism does not include the killing of Muslims in Burma and the burning of their homes. Terrorism does not include the dismembering and disembowelling of the Muslims in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Kashmir. Terrorism does not include the killing of Muslims in the Caucasus and expelling them from their lands. Terrorism does not include making mass graves for the Muslims in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the slaughtering of their children. Terrorism does not include the destruction of Muslims’ homes in Palestine, the seizing of their lands, and the violation and desecration of their sanctuaries and families.
Terrorism does not include the burning of mosques in Egypt, the destruction of the Muslims’ homes there, the rape of their chaste women, and the oppression of the mujahideen in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere. Terrorism does not include the extreme torture and degradation of Muslims in East Turkistan [Xinjiang in China] and Iran, as well as preventing them from receiving their most basic rights. Terrorism does not include the filling of prisons everywhere with Muslim captives. Terrorism does not include the waging of war against chastity and the hijab in France and Tunis. It does not include the propagation of betrayal, prostitution, and adultery.
Terrorism does not include the insulting of the Lord of Mightiness, the cursing of the religion, and the mockery of our Prophet (peace be upon him). Terrorism does not include the slaughtering of Muslims in Central Africa like sheep, while no one weeps for them and denounces their slaughter.
All this is not terrorism. Rather it is freedom, democracy, peace, security, and tolerance! Sufficient for us is Allah, and He is the best Disposer of affairs.
“And they resented them not except because they believed in Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy” [Al-Buruj: 8].
O Muslims everywhere, glad tidings to you, take heart, and raise your head high! For today—by Allah’s grace—you have a state and caliphate, which will return your dignity, strength, rights, and leadership. It is a state where the Arab and non-Arab, the white man and black man, the easterner and westerner are all brothers. It is a caliphate that gathered the Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, Egyptian, Maghribi [North African], American, French, German, and Australian. Allah brought their hearts together and thus they became, by His grace, brothers loving together for the sake of Allah, standing in a single trench, defending and guarding each other, and sacrificing themselves for one another. Their blood mixed and became one, under a single flag [or banner] and goal, in one pavilion, enjoying this blessing, the blessing of faithful brotherhood. If kings were to taste this blessing, they would abandon their kingdoms and fight over this grace. So, all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
Therefore, rush O Muslims to your state. Yes, your state! Rush, because Syria is not for the Syrians, and Iraq is not for the Iraqis. The earth is Allah’s. “Indeed, the earth belongs to Allah. He causes to inherit it whom He wills of His servants. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous” [Al-A’raf: 128]. The State is a state for all Muslims. The land is for the Muslims, all the Muslims.
O Muslims everywhere, whoever is capable of performing hijra [emigration] to the Islamic State, then let him do so, because hijra to Dar al-Islam [the Abode of Islam] is obligatory.
Allah (the Exalted) said, “Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves—[the angels] will say, ‘In what [condition] were you?’ They will say, ‘We were oppressed in the land.’ The angels will say, ‘Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?’ For those, their refuge shall be Hell—and evil it is as a destination” [An-Nisa: 97].
So rush, O Muslims, with your religion to Allah as muhajirun [emigrants; foreign fighters]. “And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many [alternative] locations and abundance. And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him—his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful” [An-Nisa: 100].
We make a special call to the scholars, fuqaha [Islamic jurists], and callers, especially the judges, as well as people with military, administrative, and service expertise, and medical doctors and engineers of all different specializations and fields. We call them and remind them to fear Allah, for their emigration is wajib al-ayni [an individual obligation], so that they can answer the dire need of the Muslims for them. People are ignorant of their religion and they thirst for those who can teach them and help them understand it. So fear Allah, O slaves of Allah.
O soldiers of the Islamic State, do not be awestruck by the great numbers of your enemy, for Allah is with you. I do not fear for you the numbers of your opponents, nor do I fear your neediness and poverty, for Allah (the Exalted) has promised your Prophet (peace be upon him) that you will not be wiped out by famine, and your enemy will not himself conquer you and violate your land. Allah placed your provision under the shades of your spears. Rather, I fear for you your own sins. Accept each other and do not dispute. Come together and do not argue. Fear Allah in private and public, openly and secretly. Stay away from sins. Expel from your ranks those who openly commit sin. Be wary of pride, haughtiness, and arrogance. Do not become proud on account of gaining some victories. Humble yourselves before Allah. Do not be arrogant towards Allah’s slaves. Do not underestimate your enemy regardless of how much strength you gain and how much your numbers grow.
I also remind you to attend to the Muslims and the Sunni tribes with goodness. Stay awake guarding them so they can be safe and at rest. Be their support. Respond with kindness if they do you wrong. Be gentle with them, giving them as much pardon as you can. Persevere, endure, and remain stationed. Know that today you are the defenders of the religion and the guards of the land of Islam. You will face tribulation and malahim [fierce battles]. Verily, the best place for your blood to be spilled is on the path to liberate the Muslim prisoners imprisoned behind the walls of the tawaghit. So prepare your arms, and supply yourselves with piety. Persevere in reciting the Qur’an with comprehension of its meanings and practice of its teachings.
This is my advice to you. If you hold to it, you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.
“Our Lord, we have believed in what You revealed and have followed the Messenger, so register us among the witnesses [to truth]” [Al-Imran: 53].
“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people” [Al-Baqarah: 286].
 Tawaghit refers to rulers who, in the view of the jihadists, claim god’s rights or set up equivalents to god—committing shirk (polytheism or idolatry)—by using laws created by man to rule in areas where the shari’a should be in force.